Forgotten series: Jon Kanis – Cabalistic Dispatch (2005)

By the time Jon Kanis issued Cabalistic Dispatch, which marked his first full-length effort, he had already made his presence known in a most positive way. A pair of well-received EPs, contributions to compilation albums, live performances, and collaborations with Peter Case and the Wondermints put the San Diego, California based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer firmly on the map.

Stocked solid with melody and motion, Cabalistic Dispatch (MJK Records) successfully incorporates roots rock influences, punchy pop structures, and hard-edged grooves into a star-kissed show screaming for encores. Swaggering vocals, tinged with a punky southern-fried fringe, form an instant connection with the listener, while the actual sound and vision of the songs involve equally electrifying equations.

Echoing an attractive cross between Golden Earring and the Black Crowes, “Don’t Stand There” is a stadium rock classic, while “Give” guides the listener through a riveting maze of catchy tempo changes stacked against a compelling contrast of dark and light textures. “Forget (That I Even Mentioned It)” pumps and pulsates with heavy duty rock gestures, and both “Make It” and “That” contain glimmers of cool cat jazz aspirations.

The bluesy and soulful “Shine On” steps in as another nugget featured on Cabalistic Dispatch along with the perky and poppy “Think It Over,” which reels and rolls to an infectious beat of jumpy piano passages. Charted of crispy and crackling rhythms, “Lay Your Life On The Table,” the windswept harmonies of “Everything Remains,” the heady psychedelic flourishes of “A.C. In Michigan,” and “The Return Of The Edmund Fitzgerald,” a trippy instrumental jangling with exotic sensibilities, further register as top-drawer cuts.

Flexible, interesting, and right on the pitch, Cabalistic Dispatch is an exceptional work of art. The singing is assured, the guitars smoke, sizzle, and sparkle, and the songs are cleverly and carefully arranged. If you count folks as diverse as Tom Petty, Elton John, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and the Georgia Satellites as favorites, then you’re bound to love these hooky heartfelt happenings.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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